Arnold Fabrikant: Eastern Europe, Jews & Thinking Outside Stereotypes

Many students leave a Modern European Jewish History class with the following assumptions: Western European Jews were enlightened and gave birth to modern Judaism and haskalah while Eastern European Jews were traditional and resistant to haskalah. The story of Eastern European Jews typically centers on those Jews who lived in the shtetlach and were confined to the Pale of settlement and are portrayed as traditionally religious and insular.  This lesson plan about " Eastern Europe, Jews, and Thinking Outside the Stereotypes" gives a more accurate account of Eastern European Jewry, following the story of the Eastern European Jews into cities like Odessa and explores an important factor in both Western and Eastern European Jewish history: geography -- rural versus urban settings, such as the Pale of Settlement region versus the port city of Odessa. Centropa’s film on Arnold Fabrikant provides a counterpoint to the stereotypical teaching of Eastern European Jewish history.

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Arnold Fabrikant -- Jewish Soldier's Red Star

With an introduction and epilogue narrated by Sixty Minutes correspondent Morley Safer, here is a story, produced by Brad Rothschild and Gustavo Villalonga in New York, of a Soviet Jewish soldier from the Ukrainian city of Odessa.

Arnold Fabrikant introduces us to his parents, who were both doctors. When war came, Arnold's father served as surgeon in Kiev, and rather than be taken prisoner by the Germans, shot himself. While Arnold's mother fled to Central Asia during the war, Arnold served in an artillery unit and fought all the way to the center of Berlin.

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